Homework - Riding Recap Since Lesson

Ever since our last lesson, Gavin and I have been diligently working on our homework.  Just a refresher, the homework included:

  1. Get him infront of the leg with less squeezing and more structured leg, then leg + tap, then leg + stronger tap
  2. Lengthenings at all three gaits
  3. Stretchy trot
  4. Five strides sitting trot, five strides posting trot, five strides two point
  5. Keep my stirrups up for two rides, then back down to "normal" for two rides
  6. Work on getting heels way, way down and close hip angle

So.... how did it to go?

                                                 Gavin says he hates it and it's going horribly!

                                                 Gavin says he hates it and it's going horribly!

Well... it's been hard.  I mean, the lengthenings are tough work for Gav.  See above sweaty mess pic.  I really need to clip him, and I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I bought a new blade and when I went to install it I completely messed the whole thing up and now I can't figure out how to put the whole thing (including the blade) back together.  (SOMEONE HELP!!!!)

Side note: This may be overkill, but I spoke with my vet about giving Gav an 8 day round of Ulcerguard due to the increased workload.  We gave it to him early fall when he was behaving a bit ulcery (excessive salivation when eating, acting mildly colic-y with increased frequency, general malaise) and since then he's been on a daily U-Guard pellet supplement.  This has definitely helped his tummy and attitude, but I worry with the increased work his stomach might act up.  Anyways - might do that.

If I break it down, here's how things are going:

  1. Getting him in front of my leg, especially at the walk, remains an issue.  He certainly seems to be getting the point, but 5 years of me riding him and not asking for this is pretty engrained in his pony brain.  I can't blame him, and will continue being patient on this one.
  2. Lengthenings at all three gaits - massive cardio workout, Gav seems to really thrive at the canter lengthening.  Unless I workon it the whole ride we tend to lose contact at the trot lengthenings.  My thoughts are to ask for less until he's solid at a more medium lengthening.  Any ideas?
  3. Stretchy trot - NAILED IT.  Gav loves this exercise.  He tends to get a bit strung out behind in these, but with the increased drive for forward this doesn't seem to be an issue.  It feels powerful, but loose.
  4. Two point - still ouch.  I think I'm getting some muscle memory for it though.  The last couple of rides I was like "oohhhh - I think this is what it's supposed to feel like".
  5. Did stirrups up until my last ride.  I definitely got used to it, and then when I put them back down to normal I felt so much more solid in my seat.  I expected the opposite to happen, but it was almost like my legs wanted to stretch down into the stirrup and it helped my seat a lot!
  6. Getting my heels down and closing hip angle.  The stirrups up seemed to help with this and it became much easier every ride.  The hip angle seems like a muscle memory thing, and again, became much easier with every ride.
                                                                          Sweaty beastie

                                                                          Sweaty beastie

Ultimately, I've been enjoying the change of pace (ha! Literally), and I think Gav is too.  My next lesson is this coming Monday, so we'll see what homework I get next!  :)

And for no other reason than cuteness, here's a video of how Gav acts when he's getting his happy stomach pellets (U-gard).  He clearly REALLY wants it, but he hides his head.  It's like he's trying so hard to be a good boy.  God he's cute.